The Afterlife

The Afterlife

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:10, Ecclesiastes 9:5
Date: 10/22/2011 
What really happens when we die?

Final Mystery Set by Doug Batchelor

Final Mystery Set by Doug Batchelor
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Hello friends. I want to welcome you to the doctrines that divide series. This is going to be a unique series of meetings where we're going to explore some of the doctrinal differences between our seventh day adventist Christian friends and some of the other Christians from mainline or evangelical churches. In this evening's presentation we're going to be talking about a few doctrinal truths that are a little controversial. Now, in this series we are talking about some of the beliefs of seventh day adventist Christians - it says Christians - adventist there and then it says other - Christians.

And again, there are a lot of dear Christian people - seventh day adventists believe - in other churches. We freely agree the majority of Christ's true followers are in the fellowship of other churches. The seventh day adventist church does not view itself as a denomination. We view ourselves as a movement of prophecy into which people are called from all different walks of life. Indeed, the seventh day adventist church was formed as a coalescing of people from several denominations that came together and said, 'let's return to biblical truth.

' And so, that's my appeal to you during this series. I believe that before Jesus comes back he's going to have a people united in the word. His church is going to truly be of one accord. And so, we're talking about some of these distinctive doctrinal differences and, in some ways, tonight's subject is going to be more difficult for some people than others we've presented. Some people shrug when you talk about the seventh day adventist view on the dietary things.

They say, 'well, you know, that's good for health. There's a lot of science behind it.' And when we talk about the sanctuary and the cleansing they say, 'well, you know, that's also very interesting.' Sabbath, 'well, we all need a day of rest.' But when you start talking about what happens when a person dies, people really get very animated about that and so, we're going to be talking tonight about those subjects of death, hell, and then we'll be talking a little bit about heaven. And so, once again, if you haven't heard me explain this before, I am wearing this special suit or this uniform and the purpose of this is to help you visualize. When I'm on this side I'm representing Pastor Doug and when I'm on this side I'm representing a figment of my imagination - we're calling him pastor barney and I guess I should give you more of a silhouette here. So it's pastor barney, he's kind of in the white suit and pastor doug is over here in the black suit.

I'm going to be arguing from this side what I believe the biblical positions are on these subjects - as a seventh day adventist, I am biased. And on this side I'll be sharing with you what I believed back before I was a seventh day adventist - worshiping and preaching in churches in the other evangelical churches. And so, with that, maybe I should introduce the first point in our study talking about the subject of death, in particular. Now, if you go to a church cemetery - I remember when I lived in Texas - and there's a lot of churches there that are church of Christ, baptist, methodist churches. Every little town used to have a church because they were all little farming communities.

Unfortunately, in the last 60, years, people have migrated to the cities - a lot of these little churches have closed. And sometimes on a Sabbath afternoon I'd go for a walk with the family in some of these church cemeteries and just read the tombstones. And it was interesting that within the same methodist or baptist or church of Christ cemetery you would immediately detect there was confusion on the subject of death. You'd see one tombstone and it would say, for example, 'our beloved father now resting in Jesus waiting for the resurrection trump' - or something like that. Then you'd go look at another tombstone, it would say, 'our dear mother - now walking on the golden streets in glory.

' And you're wondering, 'where are they?' They weren't too sure. A lot of them said 'r.i.p.' What does that stand for? Rest in peace. And, you know, so sometimes you think they're resting in peace. Others would have beautiful poems about 'now in the arms of Jesus' and there's just a lot of confusion about the subject of death. And so, with that quick introduction, we're going to get into our first question for tonight's presentation.

#1 - Are the dead awake and conscious now? All right, we're going to let Pastor Doug start out with some of these Scriptures. And this represents pretty much the adventist position. Ecclesiastes 9, verses 5 and 6 "for the living know that they will die; but the dead know not anything," - the dead don't know anything. They know nothing. "They have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.

Also their love, and their envy is now perished.' When they're dead they're not envying, they're not loving, they're not hating, they're asleep. Ecclesiastes 9, verse 10. You just jump down to the 10th verse, same chapter. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going." People in the grave have no knowledge. They have no wisdom.

And you would think the first thing a person would do - if you die and you go immediately to be with Jesus, I'd be praising the lord, wouldn't you? Well, here's what king David said in psalm 115:17 "the dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence." Pastor Doug, I've just got to interrupt you right there. You're reading from the old testament. It wasn't until the resurrection of Jesus that he liberated all the souls that were in their graves. After the resurrection of Jesus, they went on to glory to be with Christ. But pastor barney, I know I just read from king David, but when you go to acts chapter 2 and Peter is preaching his sermon on pentecost, he said, 'my brethren let me freely speak about the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried.

' A few verses later 'and not ascended to heaven.' So, even after the resurrection, pentecost happens 50 days after the passover and David still hasn't made it to heaven yet. Peter said that he is dead and buried and not ascended into heaven. But I still have a verse or two to read on that. John 11, verse 11 "these things he said, and after that he said to them, 'our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I might wake him up.'" And so, in the Bible it speaks of death as a sleep. This is a dreamless sleep and it's unconscious.

Again, you could read psalm :3 - it said, "put not your trust in princes, or in a son of man, in whom there is no help. In the day that he dies his breath goes forth and his thoughts perish." So people who are dead are not plotting vengeance on you, they're not thinking anything, they're dead. What do you think pastor barney? Well, I do have some thoughts, I have some Scriptures too. Corinthians 5:8 "we are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." Matter of fact, in that same chapter, several times it talks about being absent from the body and being present with the Lord. Uh, I have a thought on that before you go to your next verse.

Probably ought to explain that. I agree with you that to be absent from this life, you're next conscious thought is the presence of the Lord. You see, because we believe that if you're a Christian and you die, the next thing that you think of is the resurrection. You have no knowledge at all. It's not even like a restless sleep.

It's like a person who has been dead for 500 years, it's not going to seem like 500 years for them. Or if you go to sleep after a hard day's work and then the alarm clock goes off seven hours later - but how long does it feel to you? I heard one time about a man during world war I who was on the battlefield - he was directing artillery - and in the midst of a very hot battle he was ready to give the order to fire - he said, 'ready. Aim.' And then a mortar shell exploded very close to him. Well, he was taken to the local field hospital and they realized that he had a piece of shrapnel in his head and it was very serious. They waited to operate until they could get him to France.

They took him to France and in a hospital there in paris they performed the surgery and when they removed the shrapnel - he was unconscious so they didn't use any anesthetic - when they removed the shrapnel from his brain he jumped and said 'fire!' It had basically just stopped the tape for him - I don't know how that worked, but his next conscious thought was - even though it was a few days after the accident - he just picked up where he left off. And so, we believe to be absent from the body, the next conscious thought for the believer is the presence of the Lord. And keep in mind, God lives in all dimensions of time. In other words, God is from everlasting to everlasting. And that means that God can take a prophet a million years backwards in time and show him a war in heaven - not that it was a million years ago - God can take a prophet a thousand years ahead in the future and give him a three-dimensional picture of that.

And so, you know, God doesn't live in the same dimension of time so, if you're a believer and you die - or an unbeliever - you're next conscious thought is the resurrection of the just or the unjust. Carry on. Well, thank you very much for that explanation. I do have another verse or two here. It says in Matthew 22, verse 32 "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

" - And this is Jesus speaking - "I am not the God of the dead but of the living." And so, these people aren't dead, they're living - they're with Jesus. Well, I agree that they are living. When a person is asleep are they dead or alive? Well, yeah, technically they're alive. Well, I agree. I think when a person dies in the Lord, they're just sleeping.

Jesus said, 'our friend Lazarus is asleep.' And just think about that for a second friends - and this, by the way, is in John chapter 11 - the whole story there. How long had Lazarus been dead? Four days by the time that Jesus came to resurrect him. There are about 12 resurrections in the Bible and, I don't know what you think it would have been like back then, but I know today that if someone had been dead for four days and they were raised, the next thing that would happen is every media agency in the world would show up, they would have a whole bouquet of microphones in front of them and the first question they would ask is, 'what was it like when you were dead?' The amazing thing about all the resurrections that are performed in the Bible, there is not one person who comments on what they saw or experienced during their death, which leads me to believe maybe they didn't experience anything. And if Lazarus was dead for four days, think about that. Let's suppose for a moment Lazarus was lost and when he died his next conscious thought was he was in hades.

And then Jesus raised him - you would think that Lazarus would say something like 'thank you lord, it was terribly uncomfortable. The pain was excruciating. I'm so glad to be back. No comment.' If Lazarus - you think after four days that the shuttle would finally arrive in heaven. If Lazarus had been in heaven and here he is with his glorified body and he's talking with the angels and he's walking and dancing and flying around the golden city and the golden streets and reaching out for the Tree of Life and all of a sudden he finds himself back in a tomb wrapped up in grave clothes.

Would you say, 'thank you Jesus.'? For that? No. Lazarus makes absolutely no comment about the resurrection because he was asleep. And that's not my opinion or my interpretation. Jesus said, 'our friend Lazarus is asleep and when they said, 'oh, if he's sick and he's asleep, that's good. He'll start feeling better.

' Jesus said, 'no, he's dead.' So sleep is a word that God uses to describe death. This is not something seventh day adventists have manufactured. All right. Well, let's go back to another point here on the same subject. Did the thief on the cross, who was saved, go to paradise the same day that Jesus died? Pastor barney, would you like to start? Thank you Pastor Doug, I'm glad we can be cordial with each other.

Luke 23, verse 43 "Jesus said to him, 'assuredly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.'" That means that Jesus promised that thief right that day that they would be together in paradise. That doesn't mean that he had to wait for the resurrection or that he had to wait for the judgment day. Jesus said, 'today - today you'll be with me in paradise.' What do you think of that? Well, it is a good point and this is sometimes difficult to explain to people because you have to tell them there is an error in the translation - not in the Bible - in the original Bible there is no punctuation. Bible translators - and by the way, anyone can translate a Bible, you don't have to be inspired to translate a Bible. You're taking it from one language and putting it in another language.

And some translations are more inspired than others, in my opinion. But they had to decide 'where do we put the comma?' And in the King James and most english translations, the way they did it - and it was done back because they were supporting the popular belief you die and go right to heaven or hell - they wrote it 'verily I say to you - comma - today you'll be with me in paradise.' But one reason that's a big problem is if you read in John chapter 20, verse 17, it's not possible for the thief to be with Jesus in paradise that same day because Jesus didn't make it to paradise that day. When mary went to grab him by the feet and to worship him he said, 'do not detain me' - do not touch me - 'I have not yet ascended to my father.' Now, when was it that mary showed up at the tomb and told him that? Well, that would be Sunday morning. So, if Jesus hadn't made it to heaven yet Sunday morning, then how could he have been with the thief in paradise Sunday morning? - Or - I meant the same day - I meant the same day. Well, that's because there's another place called paradise that is not heaven.

But he was with Jesus wherever that place is. Ah, Revelation says that his father is in heaven and that is paradise. So he had not yet ascended to his father and The Father is in paradise. Christ had not yet been to heaven or paradise. Jesus was in the tomb.

The penalty for sin is death. The penalty for sin is not some kind of trans-spiritual migration. The thief could not be with him that day - and there's another reason to doubt the thief could be with him that day. It's simply because we're not even sure the thief died that day. He was still alive after Jesus died and they tried to accelerate their death by breaking their legs.

But the Bible doesn't record how long that took. They were hoping that they died before the Sabbath, you remember? And so, it doesn't say. We don't even know when he died. But the way to really look at that - just take the comma and put it where it belongs. 'Verily I say to you today,' - the emphasis Jesus is making is 'I'm telling you today - you've called me a lord, you've called me a king' - and, by the way, you notice pastor barney, the thief said to Jesus, 'when you come into your kingdom remember me.

' Jesus was promising him that day, 'I will remember you when I come into my kingdom.' He didn't go to his kingdom that day. The Bible says that he receives his kingdom when he comes back for us. So he was emphasizing 'today I don't look like a king' - he was hanging on the cross. 'Today I don't look like a lord. Today I don't look like I can save anybody.

But I'm making a promise to you today because you reached out to me in faith that you will be with me in paradise. I'm promising you today, you will be with me in paradise.' That's what Jesus was saying. The original Greek supports that. There was no punctuation when Luke wrote that. It's only in the gospel of Luke.

Do not build a whole doctrine on somebody's placing a comma who's not necessarily inspired or holy. And I think that's actually a beautiful explanation for that passage. All right. Let's move along here. #3 - Where does the Spirit go at death? Pastor barney.

Ecclesiastes 12, verse 7 - good enough for me. "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was and the spirit returns to God who gave it." So as soon as a person dies, the spirit goes to be with God. Well, we need to talk about what these words mean. First of all, to understand what that spirit is and where it goes, we need to know something about how God makes man in the beginning. In Genesis chapter 2, verse 7, when God first created man it says, "the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.

" So the combination of that breath of life and the body that the Lord had just framed, of adam, then equaled a living soul. The word for spirit there is the same word as breath. It's a Hebrew word ruach and it means just breath - the breath of life. It's inanimate, it doesn't have personality, it is the power, the force that God breathes into all of his creatures. And so, the verse that you just read in Ecclesiastes is saying that when somebody dies - you notice Ecclesiastes doesn't say good or bad - that the body decomposes and turns back into the dust of the earth.

God said to adam, 'dust you are and unto dust you're going to return.' the Spirit or the breath of life, the power of life, the essence of life, returns to God who gave it. If we should unplug the power in this building and all the lights go out - don't try that right now - you would say, 'where'd the light go?' Well, the light stops being light for us when you disconnect the carbon filaments with the electricity. It's the two together that produce the light. If I should take some sticks of wood and some nails and put them together and make a chair and I'd say, 'here, the combination of those nails and those sticks we've made a chair.' But now I separate the nails - don't try and sit on the chair - I separate the nails from the wood and I've got a pile of sticks here and a pile of nails here, and I ask you, 'where is the chair?' Well it stops being a chair when you separate the two. The breath of life and the elements of earth - God animates it into a living soul.

When a man good or bad - when an animal good or bad - dies, the elements of earth decompose back into the dust. The power of life, the breath of life returns to God who gave it. Let me give you another verse on that. Job 27, verse 3 "all the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils." Now you've heard people say, 'he's got the Spirit in his mind. He's got the Spirit in his heart.

' But if were to ask you would you like to be spirit nose filled? Whoever thinks of your spirit of God, 'lord, please fill our noses.' Why does it say the Spirit of God was in my nostrils?' Because the word spirit of God there means the breath of life was in my nostrils. That is the exact word that's being used there in Ecclesiastes chapter 12, verse 7. All right. So, before I go to the next point. Seventh day adventists believe that when a person dies they sleep in the grave until the judgment and the resurrection.

Jesus said rewards are not given until he comes. Matthew 25, 'when The Son of man comes in the glory of The Father with all his angels, he will gather all nations before him and separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.' When he comes, he then distributes rewards. He doesn't distribute rewards at death before the resurrection and before the judgment. This is actually not a new belief. Seventh day adventists don't own it.

It's a very old belief that has been influenced lately in the last couple hundred years, by traditions. All right. #4 - But doesn't the Bible say a man has an immortal soul? Pastor barney. Matthew chapter 10, verse 28. Jesus said, "do not fear those that kill the body but they cannot kill the soul.

" The soul cannot be killed. You've got immortal souls that go on forever and ever. Well I'm going to stop pastor barney. Sometimes I get so caught up in what he's saying I think 'I don't want to convince anybody so I'd better get back over here.' Just trying to give, you know, the other view. You've got to read the rest of the verse, pastor.

Jesus said, 'don't fear those who kill the body but they cannot kill the soul. But rather fear him" - Matthew :28 - the second half of that verse - "fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." So that's, I think, pretty clear. Matter of fact, you only find the word mortal or immortality twice in the Bible. Both times it's talking about God. When you're talking about immortality, it's only listed twice in the Bible and you're going to find where it says Matthew - oh, I'm sorry - in Timothy 6, verses 15 and 16.

Timothy 6:15 and 16 "which he will manifest in his own time, he who is the blessed and the only potentate, the King of Kings, the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality." God alone has immortality. And let me give you one more and this is a short one. Ezekiel 18:20 - the idea that you've got an immortal soul that can't die - if this isn't as clear as any dictionary definition then I don't know what is. The Bible says, the Lord says, "the soul that sins will die." And that takes us right back to what Jesus said in John 3:16. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not" - you've got two choices - "perish but have everlasting life.

" We've only got two choices. Perish. Everlasting life. Matter of fact, the first lie that was ever told in the universe was the devil when he told eve, 'God said you disobey, you eat the forbidden fruit you'll die.' What did the devil say? 'You won't really die.' And the sad thing is that some churches have taken up the refrain of the devil, telling people that 'you are immortal. You're going to live forever and ever in heaven or you're going to live forever and ever in hell.

' I do believe in everlasting separation from God, but everlasting punishment - that's another subject we're about to get into. You know, there's so much more I'd like to say on this and I know I don't have time, so what we're doing is we're going to put a website up. It's very simple: deathtruth.com. Deathtruth.com - even if you type in 'truth about death' you'll find the same website. A lot of people asking questions about that, especially just before halloween.

Deathtruth.com and you'll find more information there. All right. Well, then let's talk about the subject of hell. Question #5 - do lost souls burn forever? All right. Pastor barney? To me these Scriptures are really powerful Pastor Doug.

Matthew 18 - I'm going to read two that are similar, I'll be reading Matthew and Mark 9. Matthew 18:8 "if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. For it's better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire." Mark 9:43 and 44 "if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. For it is better for you to enter life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched--where 'the worm doesn't die and the fire is not quenched." I tell you what, I'll let you address that before I go to my next point. Okay.

Well, I believe that it is true that the fire there in hell cannot be quenched. The word quench is a verb - it means to extinguish. By the way, there is a myth out there that seventh day adventists do not believe in hellfire. I've heard people say that - I've heard preachers say it - that is categorically not true. We do believe in hellfire.

We do believe there is a lake of fire. We do believe that the wicked are all rewarded according to what they deserve. We believe what it says there in Malachi chapter 4 'behold, the day comes that will burn as an oven and all the proud and all that do wickedly shall be stubble. The day that comes shall burn them up" - but then you've got to keep reading. "It will leave them neither root nor branch.

" It says the wicked will be ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous. Burn up root, burn up branch, there's nothing left. When hellfire is burning, nobody is quenching it. There are no firemen in hell trying to spray things off. That means they burn until they consume and this is what Jesus said.

It says in Revelation 'fire comes down from God out of heaven' - Revelation chapter 20 'and consumes them.' That means they're devoured. There's nothing left. Oh, Pastor Doug, you say that, but I'd like to have some biblical support for that passage. All right, Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 27 - it says here Jerusalem would be destroyed with 'unquenchable fire.' You can just read about that - the whole prophecy there. It says "the gates would be burned with unquenchable fire.

" If you know the rest of your Bible history, I can't go to all the passages - the Babylonians came, they conquered the land of Judea, they burned Jerusalem, they burned the gates. Nobody was there putting it out, but they're not still burning today, are they? And then you can read in the book of Jude - if you want to find out what that eternal fire is that Jesus was talking about, Jude verse 7 - I can't tell you what chapter because there's only chapter so all Jude has is verses. Jude verse 7 "as sodom and gomorrah, and the cities around them in similar manner, have given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, they are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Now that eternal fire, what it means is the result of that fire is eternal. It's amazing. Sodom and gomorrah lived oh, years, 2000 years before Christ - is when those cities were flourishing - and when that fire reigned down from God out of heaven, and burnt them up, they were judged and to this very day you can go to where that region is - it is the lowest point on earth, 1300 feet below sea level, south end of the dead sea - it is badlands, you can't grow anything there.

It is under just a curse. Those cities were burnt with eternal fire and the Bible says they are set forth as an example of what the wicked can expect. Are they still burning today? Why does it call it eternal or everlasting fire? If, heaven forbid, my little pulpit here, which is made out of some kind of wood product, should suddenly ignite into flames, and I stood back and we all stood back to watch, and it burned - I've never seen a pulpit quite like that before, but I like it - but if it burned up and we didn't extinguish it - that would mean it was unquenchable. Suppose we tried and we couldn't - unquenchable - until it burns it all up and there's nothing left. How many of you remember that burning bush that Moses saw? It burned and yet it was not consumed.

How many believe it's still burning out there today somewhere? But it was unquenchable at the time. So this would be burnt up - that pulpit, that particular pulpit is been burnt with eternal fire because it will never appear again. It is gone forever. It is unquenchable, eternal, everlasting destruction. It's gone.

That's what the Bible says is going to happen to the wicked. They're burnt up with everlasting fire. All right, well I know I've been monopolizing the time pastor barney, and you were giving another verse here. I have another one, thank you very much. Revelation 20, verse 10 - this is a tough one for you.

It says, speaking of the destruction of the devil, "the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Well, it's comforting to know that it especially says that about the devil, but in the Bible the word forever that's used there in the Greek is the word eon - have you ever heard someone say 'why, I haven't seen them in eons.'? An eon is a long yet unspecified period of time. The term forever is used 56 times in the Bible where it also denotes a limited period. Some examples would be when hannah brought young Samuel to the temple. She delivered him to eli and said, 'I'm bringing him here so that he can serve in this temple before the Lord forever.

' Well, he's not still serving there today, is he. If you read in the book of Jonah, chapter 1 tells us that - in verse 17 - Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish. In Jonah's prayer, chapter 2, verse 6, he says, "the earth with her bars was about me forever." Now, I suppose that felt like hades to Jonah. Can you imagine what that would have been like? To be - whenever I think about the story of Jonah - the more I try to imagine it - to be in the digestive system of this sea monster where, if Jonah's alive, it stands to reason that there could have been something else that was on the menu that day before or after Jonah. He might have had dessert after Jonah, he might have had appetizers before.

And so, there, in that sea monster there could have been stinging jellyfish, flashing bioluminescence, octopus - whales like to eat squid. Can you imagine three days and three nights in that darkness in the digestive system of this sea monster. Would it feel like forever? Let's suppose for a moment that the wicked - well, one problem I've got with the idea that the wicked burn forever and ever is that would mean that some teenager who reaches the age of accountability - you pick that age, whatever that age is - say it's 15. And that teenager doesn't accept Jesus and they die lost. According to pastor barney's belief - a lot of evangelicals - as soon as he dies he's going to go to a lake of fire.

And he is going to burn there and writhe and shriek and scream in unimaginable torment moment after agonizing moment endlessly hour after hour, day after day, week after week, screaming, burning, shrieking year after year, millennium after millennium and after a million years have gone by, he's only just begun to burn and he burns as long as adolf hitler. According to that belief, that's exactly right. But Jesus said, 'every man is rewarded according to his works.' If everybody gets everlasting fire, then how can everybody get the same fair reward? Well, there's some things, Pastor Doug, that we don't understand. It's the mind of God and we need to trust the love of God and we need to trust the judgment of God and just don't question those things. Well, in my Bible he says, 'come now let us reason together.

' I think that the Lord wants us to understand these things. And, would you agree with me pastor barney that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and that he paid the penalty for sin? Absolutely. We agree on that one 100%. So what is the penalty for sin? Well, you know that, you're just saying it for the benefit of the people here. The penalty for sin is death.

But if the penalty for sin is death and Jesus paid that penalty, we've got a problem if the penalty for sin is everlasting torment in the flames, because Jesus died, he suffered, and he rose. He's not still burning today. So how could he have paid the penalty for the whole human race if the penalty is really eternal torment? You got another question? I think that's a good point. So the word forever - from the Bible itself is sometimes, not always, obviously when God tells us we have everlasting life and we'll live forever, you read it in its context. When it's talking about the punishment of the wicked, what kind of words are used.

It says, 'consumed. Perish. Die.' It says, 'burnt up.' It says, 'never will they be anymore.' Even concerning the devil it says, 'I'll bring forth a fire from the midst of thee.' Ezekiel 28. 'And it will consume thee. You'll be a tare and never shall thou be anymore.

' If anybody deserves to burn forever it would be the devil, right? And he may burn for several days. I don't know, adolf hitler, saddam hussein, and there can be some other despots, they may burn for a while. Can you imagine burning hours? A week? But no - and you know what? I'm thankful to tell you today that an ever-growing number of Christian theologians are agreeing. Recent - John stock just passed away - one of the greatest theologians of the last century. He believed exactly what I'm telling you today - that, yes the wicked are punished.

There is a lake of fire. They do not burn forever and ever, they are ultimately annihilated. God says, 'I make all things new. There is no more pain or suffering in the new earth. All things are made new.

' That doesn't mean he's immortalizing sinners. All right. #6 - How do you explain then the parable, Pastor Doug, of the rich man and Lazarus? Now, let me read that for you. If you turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 16, beginning with verse 19 "there was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen who fared" - or feasted - "sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table.

Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So the beggar died, and was carried by the angels" - right away, notice - "to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and he was buried and being in torment in hades, he lifted up his eyes and he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and he said, 'father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he might dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'" There you've got it. Lazarus - this wicked man, selfish man, he is tormented in the flame and he's conscious during that time.

"But Abraham said to him, 'son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things; and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted and you are tormented. Besides this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed so that those that want to pass from here to you cannot nor can those from there pass to us.' Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he might testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' Abraham said to him, 'they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' He said, 'no, father Abraham; but if one went to them from the dead, then they would repent.' But he said to him, 'if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one should rise from the dead.'" It seems pretty clear to me Pastor Doug. It's telling us that immediately after death people are either going to Abraham's bosom or they are going to torment. All right. Well, I think the key word, pastor barney, is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

It's a parable. If you take all the parables in the Bible literally, then you'll believe that trees talk to each other as they do in the book of Judges and you'll believe that people should be sheared like sheep. Jesus used a lot of analogies to teach a point. Now, you have to ask yourself, and once again, don't ever build a doctrine on one verse - this is only found here in the gospel of Luke - I believe it's inspired, but the message here is in the last few words. Jesus is using an incredible - incongruous poles in this story.

He's taking the hero of the Jewish faith and he says that the - Lazarus, this poor man who dies, he goes - and by the way, it's a Greek name. It's the Greek derivative of eliezer. He goes and he is in Abraham's bosom. So here you've got the Greek poor beggar who looks like he's under the curse of God - the only cleaning he gets is from the dogs - but he ends up in the Jewish place of paradise. And then you've got the rich man who you would think would be in Abraham's bosom - he goes to the Greek place of torment.

Every jew knew Greek mythology, they had been conquered by alexander the great hundreds of years earlier. They all knew about pluto, the God of hades, and the dogs of hell and the whole thing, and it was Greek mythology. It's like in the english language, if I should tell you right now, 'one day alice was walking in wonderland' - one sentence. Does everyone know right away that I'm using an illustration that you're not to take literally everything I'm saying? When Jesus incorporated these things, he was teaching a parable. The parable was that the jews should not think that because they were Abraham's children they were automatically saved - that they might be shocked that others would be in Abraham's bosom.

And that they shouldn't sit with the gentiles starving for the truth that they were feasting on - the only comfort they got was from the dogs - other gentiles. And here they were neglecting them and feasting on the truth and thinking that 'we're the favorite chosen people.' Churches sometimes do that too. So the message of Jesus is 'if they don't believe Moses and the prophets, they won't be persuaded though one should rise from the dead.' It's a parable. Who believes that Abraham's bosom is big enough to take all the resurrected? I mean, just picture that for a moment. Do you believe that people in heaven and hell will be able to talk to each other? Does anyone here want to be in heaven talking to people in torment? Do we believe that one drop of water would cool a person's tongue? I mean it would sizzle and evaporate before you ever got there.

All these powerful metaphors - to take this story literally, I think, is a dangerous interpretation. Well, Pastor Doug, if it's a parable, why does he use a real name there? All the other parables he just says, 'this man and that man were doing this' - but here he picks a person's name, it's a real story. Well, that is a good point pastor barney, but I think there's a reason Jesus used the name Lazarus. Did Jesus raise somebody from the dead named Lazarus? Did the religious leaders choose to believe? He said, 'no, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, then they would repent.' Jesus said, 'if they believe not Moses and the prophets then they won't be persuaded though one should rise from the dead.' Jesus' greatest miracle was raising Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, and instead of believing, they wanted to kill Lazarus. So he incorporated a name to add intensity to this parable.

It is just that, a parable. People do not die and go right to heaven and hell before the resurrection. What's the purpose of the resurrection? The Bible says 'the Lord himself will descend from heaven and then the dead in Christ will rise.' There would be no purpose for the resurrection. By the way, I do have another website I'd like to mention - big subject - this is one of the most popular websites you're going to find on the internet on this subject - got a lot of good theology - very simple - helltruth.com. Helltruth.

com. So, next question. Now we're going to talk about heaven. #7 - Do we have physical or spiritual bodies in heaven? Pastor barney, take it away. Corinthians 15, verse 50 "now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

" Bible says that we are spirits and the Lord is saving our spirits and so it's the Spirits that go to be with Jesus at death. It's not flesh and blood, we're going to be spiritual creatures. 'Flesh and blood can't inherit the Kingdom of God.' Well pastor barney, I also agree with that verse, but I think what Jesus is telling us is that our new bodies, our glorified bodies, will be both tangible and spiritual. When adam and eve sinned and their garments of light went out, they lost the Spiritual dimension of their nature. Right now, there are angels in this room.

Jesus said, 'I am with you always.' There's a whole spiritual realm we cannot see in these heavenly places. I think with the new glorified bodies, we will be able to see all that again. Now, let me give you some verses here in the Bible that I think help support that. Romans chapter 8, verse 8 and 9 "those who are in the flesh cannot please God, but you who are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you." So here, when Paul's talking about being in the flesh or being in the Spirit, he's not talking about even heaven, he's talking about those that are in the Lord. Our flesh and blood, these bodies that we have now, are carnal, mortal diseased bodies.

They cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. But we're going to have real bodies in heaven. It says here - a couple more Scriptures - Luke 24, verse 39. Jesus, when he rose from the dead, he had a real body. "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is i, myself.

Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see that I have." Now, granted he didn't say flesh and blood, he said flesh and bone, but I think it qualifies that Jesus was emphasizing 'I am real.' And then when they touched him and they still looked like they were amazed, he said, 'I'm hungry, do you have anything I can eat?' And several times after the resurrection, when he appeared to the disciples, he ate in front of them to accentuate he was real. Again, Philippians 3, verse 21 - it said, God "will transform our lowly body that it might be conformed to his glorious body." What kind of bodies will we have? Same kind of body that Jesus had. It will be a glorified spiritual body. When God made adam and eve, they were doing real things. In the Kingdom we're going to plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them, we're going to build houses and inhabit them.

It tells us that we're going to enjoy the works of our hands. We'll be real people doing real things and we're not going to be floating around on clouds. All right. #8 On heaven. Will people know each other in heaven? Tell you what pastor barney, I'm going to let you answer that one.

Thank you Pastor Doug. Corinthians 13, verse 12. Of course we'll recognize each other in heaven. Our powers of discernment are not going to be less, they're going to be more. "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

Now I know in part, but then I will know just as I am known." So what do you think of that? We agree. I think pastor barney and pastor doug ought to shake hands, don't you? Okay. Let's go on to the next one. I just wanted them to be friends before it was all over. I have to live with myself after this program.

Question #9 - can we be happy in heaven if a loved one is missing? Revelation 21, verse 4 "and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will be no more death, nor sorrow or crying. Neither will there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away." You know, there may be some tears and some sadness when Jesus first comes and we meet him in heaven, that's part of the purpose of the 1,000 years - to answer questions. But, during that time, if we see someone we love or someone we cared about is not there, we may have feelings. Do angels have feelings? Do angels rejoice and sing when someone is saved? Do angels cry or are they grieved when someone dies unprepared? And so, there will be some - God does not erase all sense of emotion from us in heaven. Does the Lord and the holy spirit have feelings and sometimes is the holy spirit grieved? So you can be sure that in heaven they're looking on with great intensity here.

But don't worry about going through eternity being unhappy because you say, 'oh I could never be happy in heaven without this person or that person.' And you might wonder how you could ever be comforted, but it won't be a person comforting you, it says God himself will wipe away their tears. I believe the Lord can do that. So everybody can have that peace and that happiness in heaven. #10. What encouragement does the Bible offer me that I can make it to heaven.

Pastor barney, I think that we could probably agree on this one, do you want to go ahead? Thank you Pastor Doug, by the way, I just want to confess - I'm not sure where to stand to tell you this - I have listened to a lot of preachers and other evangelical mainline churches - I know they know the Lord - I have been moved and inspired by things they said and some of their insights into the Scriptures. As long as it doesn't contradict the Bible I think there's a lot of truth. And I'll tell you another thing, there are a lot of those ministers out there - I have heard them quote illustrations that I have given on television - on the radio and television programs that I made up. Not the ones that I borrowed from other preachers. Happened this week.

They're listening. And so, that's why we do these programs. We need to study together. Okay, what encouragement, pastor barney, does the Bible offer that I can make it to heaven with all the struggles of this life? Romans 8, verse 18 "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us." And again, 1 Corinthians 2, verse 9 "but as it is written; the 'eye has not seen, or the ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him.'" You know, I've got some good news for you friends. When you get to the end of the Bible and you look at the dimensions of the new Jerusalem, it's 375 miles on each side.

Miles around, ,000 furlongs in biblical measurements. Someone calculated that if every individual in the world gets 100 square feet - that'd be a little tight - but just using that, if everybody gets 100 square feet - that's more than some cities have - there'd be room, just in the city, for 39 billion people. That's a lot more than is in the world today, and that means that's there's room for you. I believe that the Lord is desperate for his people to get it together. I think that he has called the seventh day adventist movement for such a time as this.

To invite people from all faiths to return to the faith that was delivered to the saints - the teaching of the Bible. He doesn't want his church divided on doctrine and he doesn't want us to abandon truth and say that doctrine doesn't matter. When they heard Jesus preach and teach it says they were amazed at his doctrine. It was his doctrine that turned the world upside down. Don't ever be apologizing for the doctrine, friends.

And sometimes the word separates, and I know well enough that not everybody is going to believe, but some are going to hear - the Holy Spirit is going to speak to their hearts and it's going to resonate with them as it did with me. I once went to church with pastor barney. And then I studied and I heard these things and it clicked and I said, 'that's the truth.' It rings true. There's Bible support. And I'll tell you friends, this is why today I'm a seventh day adventist Christian.

I don't want to be embarrassed when someone asks the reason for the hope that is in me. I want to be able to give an answer with meekness and fear and base it on this book. Bottom line is we all want to be one in Christ. Jesus is the word. So that's my invitation to you friends.

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